Bahrain, First in the Middle East to Acquire Latest Machine used for Human Genome Sequencing

MANAMA, Bahrain — The Ministry of Health in the Kingdom of Bahrain has become the first in the Middle East to acquire and inaugurate the use of the cutting-edge NovaSeqTM X Plus machine for human genome sequencing purposes. The move is part of the Kingdom’s commitment to continue developing therapeutic and diagnostic services in line with latest global medical advancements, benefiting the health of all.

The Chairman of the Supreme Council of Health, Lt. General Dr. Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, highlighted the ongoing efforts within the National Genome Project, which aims to utilize gene sequencing in adopting effective national health policies and therapeutic and preventative management plans.

For her part, the Minister of Health, Dr. Jaleela bint Al-Sayed Jawad Hassan noted that acquiring this device is in line with continuing efforts to keep abreast of latest technological trends in the health field, while further developing the National Genome Centre, which will reflect positively on the various diagnostic and therapeutic services in place for the benefit of the community.

Meanwhile, Dr. Gregory Essert, General Manager of Emerging Markets at Illumina, stated, “Through our latest specialized device in genome sequencing, NovaSeqTM X Plus, we can generate more than 20,000 whole genomes per year – 2.5 times our previous capacity, we look forward to contributing to the National Genome Centre’s goal in the Kingdom of Bahrain by employing technology to gain a better understanding of diseases and potential genetic risks, thereby developing healthcare plans.”

Likewise, Mr Abdelrahman Ramadan, the Chief Executive *officer* of Zahrawi Group who’s the local representative of Illumina in Bahrain has emphasized, “We believe that the

Bahrain National Genome Project, in tandem with Zahrawi Group’s vision and mission, symbolizes a significant step towards achieving excellence in genomics research, fostering trust, and making meaningful contributions to the well-being of people in the GCC region and beyond”.

It is worth mentioning that the National Genome Project was launched in the Kingdom of Bahrain in 2019, and awareness campaigns have been initiated by public health institutions to encourage community participation in the program, with a target of collecting 50,000 samples by 2024.

A national delegation of specialists from the National Genome Centre was sent to Harvard University in the United States to undergo specialized training, including the latest methods of genome sequencing, biological data classification, clinical analysis, scientific data analysis, and genetic data management.

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